I was writing a recommendation letter yesterday for a friend and former colleague. It was the fourth such letter of recommendation that I’ve written in the month of June.
Though writing these letters takes time, I always find a great deal of joy in memorializing in words how I feel about the person to whom I’m recommending. Oftentimes these are people who respect and admire a great deal, so I’ve always viewed the writing of these letters of recommendation as a blessing. It’s my opportunity to let the person know exactly how I feel about them and how much they have meant to me.
It occurred to me while writing yesterday’s letter that I’ve been working at my present job for 20 years. For two full decades, I have been teaching elementary school at the same school, and for the last 17 years, I’ve been teaching in the very same classroom.
It’s been a long, long time anyone has written me a letter of recommendation.
As I was writing yesterday’s letter, I commented to a colleague who has also been working at our school for a long time how unfortunate it is that we don’t change jobs more often. While I write glowing letters of recommendation about my friends and colleagues all the time - letters that undoubtedly bring at least a little bit of joy to them - I haven’t had a letter like this written about me in forever.
Also, the last people to write my letters of recommendation were likely college professors and cooperating teachers who had only known me for a few months at most. Not exactly the kind of people who can speak with any authority or veracity about my skill and expertise.
I’m not saying that I need this kind of praise and validation of my colleagues and administrators. As some might attest, I probably feel a little too good about myself at times.
But still, it would be nice.
But since I don’t see myself going anywhere anytime soon (or ever), I may have received the very last letter of recommendation of my life.
But this has given me an idea:
In my ongoing campaign to write and mail 100 letters in 2019, I have decided to identify colleagues and friends who have been working in the same job for a long period of time and write them utterly unnecessary letters of recommendation:
Glowing reports on how dedicated, skilled, and talented they truly are even though they aren’t changing jobs.
Why should someone have to wait until they jump ship to find out how their colleagues feel about them? I’m going to let them know now, when it might mean even more to them.
I’m excited about this idea.